Hello! Today we are conducting an interview with Dr. Tran Tuan, who works as an epidemiologist at the Hanoi Research and Training Center for Community Development, in Vietnam.
So, Dr. Tran Tuan, what are the top 10 "most constantly worried about" epidemics on your mind for Vietnam on a daily basis?I would say-
What epidemics would be your worst nightmare for Vietnam and Southeast Asia?
I would say-
How do you prepare yourself for that, and how is your plan like?
I am running an independent research and training institution focusing on community health and poverty. In the last three years, we carried out five research projects to find scientific evidences for policy development of control food poisoning, control of anemia in mothers and children, control of malnutrition, and improving mental health care services for mothers and children. Together with the University of Melbourne, we established a partnership for action research on primary mental health care in Vietnam and organized two national workshops on mental health care in Vietnam. We recently raised three initiatives to the community of development organizations in Vietnam. The first one is a call for developing a national program aiming at introducing mental health care to and strengthening social capital for the targeted groups of the HIV/AIDS & Tuberculosis national program. The second one is a call for establishing a local network of civil organizations for control of mental disorders in women and children. The third one is a proposal for launching a project of educating drivers to monitor their mental health status before and during driving trucks & cars to manage risks to traffic accidents.
What is the top 3 urgent cases as of today? How would you rank them?
Criteria of ranking:
Traffic accidents have been increased by time: at least 10000 dead and nearly 20000 injurers in 2006 in VN. In February 2007: 1500 accidents happened, caused 1300 deaths, 1450 injuries ( http://dantri.com.vn/news/search.aspx)
Officially, the Ministry of Health said that there were 114367 HIV/AIDS cases in VN in Dec 2006, and would be increased up to 350,000 cases by 2010
What is your action plan for an unexpected case? (Something you don't
prepare for and never anticipate that it will happen)
Making an investigation if I have a chance.
Please tell some of the epidemics or outbreaks that you have just
gotten control over.
An outbreak of convulsion in late 1987 caused by fake drugs resulted 56 deaths in a commune in Hoai Duc district (outskirt of Hanoi). We identified a local product of antibiotics as a risk factor for lethal outcome by using the case-control study approach in investigation. The outbreak stopped immediately when the fake antibiotics was withdrawal from the commune.
How do you educate the public about outbreaks?
By a report sent to the city department of hygiene and epidemiology. It is also used as a case-study in teaching medical students on outbreak investigation; writing papers for scientific purpose as well as for raising public awareness.
What were the most memorable cases and experiences to you as an epidemiologist, and why?
Control of an outbreak of hemorrhage in new born babies in Ho Chi Minh city in 1981. This outbreak caused by warfarrin (a toxic chemical used in killing mousse for prevention of plague) resulted by mixing in baby skill powders accidentally. About 700 new born babies were victims of this outbreak.
Please share with us some of the projects you are working on. Which one is most exciting to you?
An epidemiological study on perinatal mood disorders: a longitudinal study to measure a link between mental health status of mothers and child health and development outcomes in Vietnam. This study has been implemented for one year, in collaboration with the Key Center and Women’s Health in Society (University of Melbourne, Australia) and will be finished in 2009. results from this study will provide foundations for designing women’s mental health education programs for healthy development in children
What work have you done that you are the proudest of?
I would say establishing and running an independent research and training institution in Vietnam that becomes now a distinguished institution in community development in Vietnam.
Our team would like to acknowledge you, Dr. Tran Tuan, and your efforts, and we thank you sincerely for your time.